Thursday, July 23, 2015

Just In Time Cowboy (Jillie Rivers)

Just In Time Cowboy
(The Lost Mine series, Book 1)
Jillie Rivers
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, Romance/Sci-Fi
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: In 2014, Kelsey Winter came to Mule Stop, Wyoming to help turn around an unproductive mine recently acquired by her employer, Great Northern Mining. Success here will mean her own plant to operate on her next assignment. Unfortunately, the former owner is doing his level best to sabotage her, which is why she found herself there on one fateful summer day trying once again to clean up his mistakes. Then the storm hit - and a bolt of lightning takes Kelsey straight in the heart.
In 1892, Peter Jackson is nearing the end of two years of freedom. All his life, he dreamed of living his own life on the range... but he has a duty to his father, to continue the family banking dynasty by marrying one of the frilly-dressed proper ladies of New York City. If his latest strike turns out to be a mother lode, maybe he can buy a few more months of liberty. He's on his way back to the town of Mule Stop when a rogue storm drops a dust devil straight in his path. When it clears, he finds a beautiful stranger sprawled in the blast zone.
Kelsey cannot believe she's fallen back in time. It must be a dream of some sort, a trauma-induced hallucination. But it all seem so real - especially the too-tempting stranger in the cowboy hat, Pete, who finds her on the open prairie where Great Northern's plant parking lot should be. She just got through a bad break-up with another man when her heart overrode her head, so the last thing she needs is to fall for a man from the wrong century, one who may just be a figment of her imagination anyway. She has to return home... but the only way may be to fulfill a Sioux prophecy about a "Wise One" from the future, a prophecy she just can't believe is about her.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: I was in the mood for something light, so a time-travel romance seemed to fit the bill. This one starts out a little clunky, forcing character descriptions and information down my throat as it presents the usual suspects of the genre: a gorgeous green-eyed lady with trust issues, an unreasonably handsome cowboy hiding family secrets, and a contrivance to throw them together with just enough questions to keep them from clawing each other's clothes off at first sight, not to mention a slew of supporting stock characters who help or hinder the would-be lovers. This includes such awkward phrases as "the travel and adventures in which Pete indulged his taste for adventure", which made my inner editor cringe. Slowly, despite a few stereotypes, the tale comes together and builds some momentum, though the lengths to which Rivers goes in order to incite and inflame Kelsey's distrust of Peter (not to mention relapses in her belief about time travel) had me grinding my teeth more than once. When a simple conversation - one Pete refuses to initiate and Kelsey refuses to listen to - would resolve a matter that stretches out for a good percentage of the story, I find it annoying, not to mention an overused tactic, particularly in romances, to delay the inevitable. A subplot with an outlaw gang whose leader has a bone to pick with Pete feels drawn out and occasionally forced, as does one involving a lovelorn town girl convinced that she, not Kelsey, is destined to be the future Mrs. Jackson. Despite that, it eventually builds to a reasonably tense climax and a nice resolution - though, in retrospect and without spoilers, some elements don't quite fit the "rules" established earlier. But for the issues I mentioned, it wound up fairly close to a Good rating, but those problems managed to hold it back.

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